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IN LGBT ON 16 Dec, 2015
Law and justice can sometimes really be blind. Take this case for example: Tara Hudson, a transgender woman, was sent to a men's prison on charges of assault. But clearly, the consequences of sending her to a men's prison were not thought of. What followed was a series of disturbing events and an agitated campaign, leading to Tara's shifting to a woman's prison.
The 26-year-old has spent all her adult life as a woman, and even had breast implants to completely convert into a woman. Despite that, she was locked up in a men's prison on charges of assault, where she had to live in a constant fear of being raped. Things went so far that she was forced to flash at inmates because she was terrified of being raped. She also faced other forms of abuse. She was labeled a "chick with a d***" and strip-searched by male guards. She was also taunted with chants like "Ladyboys of Bangkok had come to town," all during the mere seven days of being locked in the prison.
The latest events and the rising concern for Hudson's safety in the male prison caused the uprising of an intense campaign that supported the cause of the safety of transgender women, like Tara herself. All this ultimately led to Tara's segregation from the 600-plus male inmates at HMP Bristol, and a shift to HMP Eastwood Park.
Hudson narrates her experiences of the horrific week: "When I walked into the prison, it was like a cat with five legs had entered the building. They were like animals in a zoo - shouting and banging on the doors. Most of them were really excited. Everyone thought I was an ordinary woman and they hadn't seen one in a long time. It was all very sexual - they were very sexually excited. Even the guards were confused as to why I was there. When they greeted me at reception, there was a look of panic in their eyes about how they were supposed to treat me. I was given men's clothes - a t-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and boxers - to wear. Instead of wearing them, I didn't take off my own clothes for the whole week I was there. It was intense, aggressive and extremely uncomfortable. Within hours of being there, I was bullied into showing my breasts through the hatch in my door. I thought if I didn't do what they said, they would keep hassling me or do something worse. It was pretty scary. I just wanted them to stop. It was very depressing, and I even felt suicidal at points."
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